Inanimate Objects

The other day I bought a little wireless mouse for my lap top. I get home, excited about not having to use that touch pad thingie anymore, and I can’t for the life of me, open the package. It’s one of those sealed all around the edges, hard plastic packages. I started muttering expletives at whoever the idiot was that designed these things. Flipping it over several times, I decide the only way to do this without cutting myself is with scissors. I can’t find the scissors. Apparently the flashlight and the scissors are hanging out somewhere because I can never find it either.

In the midst of this debacle, I’m thinking I wasn’t meant to exist in the physical world. Somewhere along life’s path I chose an intellectual course over the physical one. Me thinking that is probably a self preservation trick, I’m sure. The kind the body produces to stop trauma. Still, it exasperates me. I seem to be constantly engaged in an endless war with inanimate objects. I am in total awe of pilots, skateboarders, circus acrobats and people who can rub their belly with one hand and pat their head with the other. How does that skateboard follow its owner’s feet into the air without the aid of velcro or rubber bands? It’s in utter contempt of gravity. Gravity rules me, why not them? And here I sit struggling with a hard plastic clamshell package. It’s going to hurt me before it’s all over with, I know it. For me, daily life is a comedy of minor mishaps. My patron saint should be Tim the tool man Taylor.

I have a pot on the counter that has been soaking for most of the day. (Yeah, I can’t cook beans either) It’s literally three feet from the paper towel dispenser. I want one, single paper towel, and the entire roll falls perfectly in the pot. A math professor couldn’t have calculated the exact trajectory any better. I add one magazine to the pile next to the toilet, and triggered an avalanche of paper that sent my dogs into hysterics. I pull my boat registration sticker out of the envelope, dropped it at the foot of my work bench and watched it vanish into thin air.

I know I invite most of these disasters through my own ignorance. Stuff like placing a glass of tea on the sofa cushion. The cushion is firm and level, the glass is three-quarters empty and the dogs are nowhere in sight. It is a blatant infraction of universal law. I trust the sofa and the laws of physics to hold the glass upright, and I’m always shocked when it fails. Some people just have a better understanding of nature and physics than others. It must be in the DNA. The forces that govern my world refuse to tolerate even a minimal level of risk. I remove a freshly broiled steak from the oven, balancing it on a spatula in one hand while transferring it to my plate with the other. The spatula is wide enough, my hand is steady enough, and at the last second, the spatula tilts one degree farther than the maximum steak flip angle. I carefully arrange all the grocery bags on the seat of my truck. A highly trained NASA engineer couldn’t do it any better, then drive home. You would think I could complete the twenty minute trip home with the grocery bags intact. Of course not. They fall in the floorboard, mostly upside down, and the contents always achieve a perfect state of chaos.

Knowing these things are going to happen should stop me from trying to put the steak on a plate with one hand or walking anywhere near the paper towels but it doesn’t. It is against my very nature. A cat may land feet first but buttered bread always lands butter side down. And shouting at grocery bags? Save your breath. Apparently they only hear what they want to hear.